Accident, emergency and trauma management experts at leading hospitals of the country on Saturday urged the authorities to provide a universal emergency number to the citizens of Pakistan on the pattern of 911 of United States, so that people in distress could call for immediate assistance.
They also deplored lack of a proper national registry in Pakistan to keep a record of the nature of accidents and trauma cases so that proper policies could be formulated to avoid deaths, injuries and disabilities following accidents. They further called for creating awareness among the people to adopt safety measures to prevent themselves and others from lethal accidents.
They were speaking at the 2nd annual symposium on “Emergency Medicine: An Emerging Specialty in Pakistan”, organised by Dr Ziauddin Hospital and University at its campus.
Trauma management experts from leading public and private hospitals in Karachi and other major cities of the country presented their papers during the daylong symposium.
Prof Saeed Minhas from the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) said accidents involving motorcyclists and pedestrians were the leading cause of deaths and injury among young adults in Karachi which could be avoided and minimised to a large extent by educating motorists as well as common people. He said 40 to 50 per cent of deaths of motorcyclists could be avoided by convincing them to wear helmets while driving.
Claiming that road traffic accidents would be the 5th leading cause of deaths in the world by 2030, including Pakistan, he said 94 per cent of the road traffic deaths in Pakistan involved cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and car occupants. “Forty-eight per cent people who die in the roads traffic accidents are car occupants and lives of a large number of them could be saved by convincing them to take precautionary measures like wearing seatbelts while driving.”
“Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death among front-seat passengers by 40 65 per cent and among rear-seat occupants by 25 75 per cent. Similarly, using a good quality motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 40 per cent and severe head injury by more than 70 per cent,” he said and called for educating young motorists and drivers regarding safety measures, safe driving and speed limits.
Speaking at the conference as chief guest, Dr Asim Hussain said that Emergency Medicine (EM) is an escalating medical specialty that is rapidly developing worldwide. Focused on the recognition, steadiness and treatment of life and limb-threatening conditions, EM is established as a fully “advanced” specialty only in a handful of nations, with quite a few countries still in the mid stages of development, including Pakistan.
But Pakistan has accomplished many of the landmarks of emergency medicine development in just over a period of 10 years and now some leading teaching hospitals are providing excellent training in the field of emergency medicine and trauma-management, he added.
Eminent neurologist Dr Nadir Ali Syed said stroke id also a medical emergency where timely diagnosis is very important in saving the lives of people as stroke can cripple people for the rest of their lives. He added that CT scan is the only test which can diagnose it while blood tests can hardly diagnose stroke.
Speaking on new trends in the management of stroke and TIA in emergency medicine setup, he said they receive a number of stroke patients on a daily basis and diagnosing stroke is very easy as even a nurse can diagnose stroke within a minute only if she is well-trained.
“We need to provide proper training to our emergency physicians to save lives. This is our duty, and yours is to bring stroke patients to hospitals on time because your time is your action and our time is our reaction. We give therapies to our patients because of which 32 out of 100 patients do better. We have skills. We can save people from permanent disabilities if they come on time,” Prof Ali added.
Dr Ali Raza, assistant professor of medicine & diabetology at Ziauddin University, talking about his field of expertise, said diabetes and ketoacidosis is life-threatening disease in which 25 per cent of patients miss their insulin dose even after knowing how dangerous it could be for them. Other experts said emergency physicians and surgeons need to know situations of their emergency departments and they should handle their patients accordingly, especially in a country like Pakistan. “We have to be very active in this field to safe our people’s life. We have to be careful as we have to take decisions wisely as it is not about our job; it is about someone’s life,” said an expert.